I've been saying for the last few seasons that DS9's biggest problem is that it's stuck between being a serialised show and an episodic one, and season 6 strains this problem to the point of incredulity.
I have mixed feelings on this issue. On the one hand, yes: DS9 is stuck between being episodic and being serialized, and the mixture is not always very convincing or compelling.
On the other hand: it's also one of the things that makes DS9 unique. It's a show that's in a kind of creative flux a lot of the time, which makes it all the more interesting in certain respects, even if it makes the show "flawed" in certain obvious ways.
To twist one of the show's own speeches: "People are dying out there, every day! Entire worlds are struggling for their freedom! And here I am playing dress-up in 1960's Vegas." That version of the speech doesn't quite have the same impact, does it?
No, but life is actually like that. People are dying out there everyday, and some of the time, we are playing dress-up, or the equivalent.
W.H. Auden wrote a really perceptive poem about this:
Musée des Beaux Arts
About suffering they were never wrong,
The old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position: how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.
In Breughel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water, and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.
Even on that particular subject, I'm not sure it really detracts from DS9 as a whole that there is sometimes this jarring mix of triviality alongside the darker stories.